Over the past week, the Arizona Cardinals have been linked to quarterback Carson Palmer should he be released by the Oakland Raiders.
But according to SI.com's senior NFL writer Peter King, Steve Keim and Co. might not wait for the former Pro Bowler to hit the open market.
In his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column, King wrote that Arizona would likely have to give Oakland a fourth or fifth-round pick to complete a deal for Palmer, and that it could happen as early as Monday.
Palmer's numbers (8-16 as a starter, 35 touchdowns and 30 interceptions) with the Raiders over the past two seasons weren't reflective of the quarterback he was earlier in his career in Cincinnati, but King seems to believe reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Let's not be delusional about Palmer. You can't say he's a premier player anymore, but you also can't say he can't play. He threw for 4,018 yards, and his interception percentage (14 picks on 565 attempts, 2.5 percent) was lower than that of Drew Brees and Eli Manning. He wants to play the Arians way. I believe Arians is the best coach in the league for Palmer. I also believe Palmer wouild buy in totally to Arians' plan, and I hear he's excited about a chance in Arizona. A move would allow him to stay close to his southern California home, and to play in a system that wouldn't be a reach for his game. And Palmer would have the kind of reliable deep-threat receiver in Larry Fitzgerald that few quarterbacks have at their disposal.
The Cardinals currently have four quarterbacks (Drew Stanton, Brian Hoyer, John Skelton and Ryan Lindley) under contract, but Palmer would certainly fit the kind of big-armed quarterback Bruce Arians wants to run his offensive system.
Still, King doesn't seem to think the addition of the former Heisman Trophy winner would do much to improve the Cardinals' chances of winning the division next season.
Does that mean Arizona will contend? I doubt it sincerely. The leaky offensive line must be significantly better to give the immobile Palmer a chance to play well. But of all the quarterbacks on the market or in the 2013 draft, Palmer gives the Cardinals the best chance to be competitive as the fourth-best team in a suddenly very good NFC West.
Under his current deal with the Raiders, Palmer is owed $13 million in 2013, however he has previously turned down Oakland's request to take a paycut.
Should a trade between Arizona and Oakland come to fruition, King noted that he doesn't see a new contract being an issue for Palmer, after all who wouldn't welcome the chance to throw passes to Larry Fitzgerald for a living?